Carolina Peregrino is currently finishing up her BSMP grant at SUNY Oswego. During the Summer of 2014, she interned at ARUP, an engineering firm with offices worldwide – including in Brazil. When her grant is over, she will continue studying Electrical Engineering at Universidade Federal de Itajubá.
How did you find your AT?
I applied through the AT Website. ARUP posted a position and after I applied they contacted me to set up a meeting. I did a phone interview as well as a Skype interview. The phone interview was with an American who worked in the New York office and I did the Skype interview with a Brazilian from the Brazil office.
What did you do during your AT?
I worked on various engineering projects. They were mostly structural projects and my tasks involved providing power wherever was it needed. I worked a lot with Revit and AutoCad. Everything I did could be done by hand or with these programs. I checked mechanical equipment to see if they needed power and I provided the power to the equipment by creating conduits.
Carolina with Luis, another BSMP intern, near the ARUP New York offices on Water Street
What are some of the most important things you learned?
ARUP is a really cool place and I felt free to ask questions. When a new task was assigned, they sat with me and explained everything, like how to use the programs and the electrical part I would be working with. Because of all the attentiveness, I learned how to be a better professional.
Can you speak about the challenges you faced in a male-dominated industry?
I am lucky, actually, because when I started studying there were about 80 people in my class and 30 were girls. So my class has a lot of girls compared to other classes. It is usually something like only 1 or 2 girls. So I don’t know exactly how it feels to be the only one, but when people find out I study Electrical Engineering, a lot of them say, “You are a tough girl.” I don’t think of myself as tough, though. I am just a girl who likes math. I am exactly the same as all other girls and I like all the things that they like. We have tons of women working at ARUP and a lot of the interns are girls. Girls are making it.
What has been the coolest thing you did while interning at ARUP?
The coolest thing was learning Revit. I had never even heard about it before and it is something that the industry requires. It was cool to learn it while working on actual projects here.
What do you plan to do when you get back to Brazil? Has working at ARUP changed your plans in any way?
I may have another opportunity to work at ARUP in Brazil. I definitely want to apply to work there and am going to try.
What advice would you give to other Electrical Engineering students?
Keep looking because it was not easy. I applied to almost 45/50 internships here and all of the answers were a “no” because many companies were interested in hiring American students so that they could continue working after the internship. Most of my friends gave up, but I didn’t. You have to believe that you are going to find something. If you don’t believe; who will believe? So just keep looking.
How can BSMP students get the most out of their AT?
You have to be open to listening and learning. There are some people who just don’t want to learn and think they know everything. You have to also be open to assuming responsibility because you are here to learn. Don’t hide your mistakes. They won’t tell at you.
Listening is the best thing you can do. Talk to people who work at the company. They have cool experiences and can start helping you to shape yourself. You have to take advantage of the opportunity as much as you can.
To connect with Carolina on LinkedIn, click here.